CARY, N.C. – For the sixth time in school history and the fifth time in the last six seasons, the Seminoles are champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference as No. 7 Florida State (15-4-2) posted a 3-2 win over No. 3 North Carolina (17-3-1) on Sunday afternoon at WakeMed Soccer Park.
2018 ACC Tournament MVP Dallas Dorosy led the Seminoles with a pair of first-half goals – the first multi-goal game of her career – and added the assist on Kristina Lynch’s game-winning goal in the 84th minute.
It marked the first time that North Carolina had ever lost the ACC Championship Game as the Tar Heels entered the match with a 21-0-3 record in the conference title game, previously falling in penalty kicks to Florida State in 2016 (4-3), Virginia in 2004 (5-4) and NC State in 1988 (4-3).
The victory was FSU’s ninth overall against UNC, which is the most wins versus the Tar Heels of any school in the country. The Seminoles are responsible for over 12% of the losses (9-of-73) in North Carolina women’s soccer history.
“I thought that into the second half we had pretty good control of the game, yet you always have to be concerned about UNC’s firepower,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “At any moment the game can change and they took advantage of it. I thought that our kids showed a lot of composure to be able to come back after giving up two goals to find a way to win it in the end.
“Dallas (Dorosy) has been a four-year player and has worked very hard to help us throughout the years. She embraces her role and enjoys going out there and competing and lifting the team. She is a great teammate and it couldn’t happen for a better kid.”
It was a tight midfield battle in the opening minutes of the game as the two Top 10 teams competed for possession and position. North Carolina took the first shot of the match in the sixth minute on a header by Morgan Goff, following a corner kick, but Brooke Bollinger was there for the save.
FSU’s Yujie Zhao recorded the first shot for Florida State in the 16th minute, but her attempt from the top of the box was saved by UNC’s Samantha Leshnak. Deyna Castellanos had a trio of dangerous chances in the middle of the first half, but all three were blocked away by the UNC defense.
North Carolina nearly scored in the 32nd minute as Ru Mucherera sent a cross into the box for Rachael Dorwart, but the shot from the UNC forward was wide of the net.
Jaelin Howell set up the first FSU goal of the day with an outstanding through ball on the right side in the 36th minute for Dorosy. The senior drove toward the net and scored her third goal of the season to put the Seminoles up 1-0.
It marked the first goal allowed by UNC’s Leshnak since August 22, 2018 against Texas, a scoreless streak that spanned a school-record of over 1,119 minutes.
Dorosy struck again in the 41st minute as Megan Connolly’s low cross from the right bounced around the six-yard box and eventually found the foot of Dorosy to make it 2-0 Seminoles heading into halftime.
The 2-0 FSU lead on North Carolina marked just the 25th time in the 955 games of program history that UNC had ever trailed by more than one goal.
The Seminoles came out in the second half strong and Bollinger made a great leaping catch on a cross in the 62nd minute, but came down awkwardly on the ball. Caroline Jeffers entered to play the rest of the match in goal for the Noles.
A clearance attempt by Jeffers led to UNC’s first goal as Alex Kimball blocked the ball out of the air and it rolled into the goal at 62:34 to cut the FSU lead to 2-1.
North Carolina’s second goal came in the 72nd minute after a long free kick bounced out to Rachel Jones on the left. Jones worked to the endline and sent a cross for Mucherera to head inside the far post to equalize the match at 2-2.
Dorosy’s cross from the right side near the endline bounced into the six-yard box for Lynch to slot into the net for her fourth goal of the season.
The last chance for the Tar Heels came in the 87th minute as a corner kick found Julia Ashley, but her header went directly to Jeffers for the save.
Shots for the game were tied at 10, while FSU had five shots on goal to UNC’s two. North Carolina held a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks.
The Seminoles will find out where they are seeded in the 2018 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship on Monday, November 5 during the Selection Show that will be streamed on NCAA.com at 4:30 p.m.
2018 ACC All-Tournament Team
Sam Staab, Clemson
Alexa Spaanstra, Virginia
Brianna Pinto, North Carolina
Taylor Otto, North Carolina
Alex Kimball, North Carolina
Julia Ashley, North Carolina
Deyna Castellanos, Florida State
Jaelin Howell, Florida State
Natalia Kuikka, Florida State
Kristen McFarland, Florida State
Dallas Dorosy, Florida State – MVP